Hair analysis sample collection protocol
Proper collection of the hair sample is extremely important and cannot be over-emphasized. All reference range correlations as well as dietary recommendations, supplement recommendations, and interpretive content in our Profile 2 and Profile 3 reports assumes the complete hair specimen originated by strict adherence of the following protocol.
Remember, an inaccurate analysis is useless!
What type of hair do I use?
Scalp hair is the preferred choice for a hair tissue mineral analysis. Scalp hair is one of the most metabolically active tissues of the body and as such, provides the most accurate metabolic blueprint. If scalp hair is not available, pubic, auxiliary hair, or nails may be used as a last resort.
Note: Pubic and other body hair is only recommended for confirmation of elevated toxic metals found in the scalp hair and/or to rule out external contamination of the scalp hair. DO NOT mix hair sample types for any reason!
How do I prepare my hair?
First, the hair sample must be untreated hair, which includes permed, dyed, or bleached. If all of the hair has been chemically treated, wait until sufficient new (virgin) growth has emerged to allow collection. This is normally four weeks for one-half inch of hair growth.
Make certain you shampoo your hair to remove all gels, oils, hair creams, and environmental contaminants and allow your hair to dry thoroughly prior to collection. Damp hair will interfere with the required sample weight required for the analysis.
Note: In an effort to eliminate the potential for any other contamination, do not use any other treatments after shampooing such as rinses and/or other treatments. Do not use any aerosol sprays such as deodorants or air fresheners prior to collecting the hair sample. Keep your environment as clean as possible!
Where do I collect the hair sample?
Refer to the illustration to the right. Make certain to stay within the “collection area” as indicated by the illustration. Take each sample in small portions (only 10-15 strands of hair) from at least five or more different locations of the scalp. You can use as many locations you want (within the collection area) to make certain the collection is not noticeable.
Note: Make certain to use high grade stainless steel scissors or thinning shears and cut the hair as close to the scalp as possible. DO NOT damage the skin or pull the hair out by the root.
How long is the hair sample?
The length of the collected hair should not exceed one and one-half inches (1 ½ inches). Keep the one and one-half inches closest to the scalp (root) and discard the rest. For a quick reference, the “rectangular” box where you place the sample on the weight scale is approximately 1 ½ inches. Again, do not pull your hair out by the root – cut the hair as close to the scalp as possible without damaging the skin.
Note: This portion of the hair is reflective of the most recent metabolic activity for the past 90 days. If your hair is shorter than 1 ½ inches, you can use that as well. Each half-inch of hair reflects metabolic activity for approximately 30 days. For example, ½ inch = 30 days, 1 inch = 60 days and 1 ½ inch = 90 days.
How much hair do we need?
We include a “Hair Weight Scale” in your kit to ensure a sufficient amount of hair is collected. Please use the scale! The scale is a heavy paper in which you fold the sides down to provide the fulcrum point to achieve the proper weight. The weight averages approximately 125 milligrams or one full teaspoon of hair.
Make certain your hair is thoroughly dry prior to collecting the sample! Any moisture on the hair could provide an inaccurate weight (or amount) of hair needed for your analysis. An insufficient amount of hair is the most common reason for laboratory delays.
Note: When placing each hair sample onto the scale in the designated area, make certain the scale “tips” firmly indicating a sufficient amount has been acquired. It is also fine to place an extra small sample onto the scale to ensure a sufficient weight is collected. An insufficient amount of hair will cause laboratory delays.
How do I package the hair sample?
After collecting a sufficient weight of dry hair, place the hair directly from the weight scale into the hair specimen envelope (the smaller envelope) provided in your hair analysis kit. Seal the envelope with the glue flap only. Fill out the information on this envelope (Lab Number if applicable, Name, and Shampoo) and place this envelope into the laboratory addressed and stamped mailing envelope (the larger envelope) provided in your kit. Don’t seal the large envelope yet!
Note: Do not use plastic bags in place of the standard paper envelopes to hold the hair specimen. In addition, do not use staples, paper clips, adhesive tape, aluminum foil or other metal and paper material of any kind to seal, secure, or wrap the hair envelope and/or the hair specimen contained within.
Don’t forget the Laboratory Submittal Form!
Your hair analysis kit also contains a Laboratory Submittal Form that must be completed and accompany the hair sample. Failure to include the Laboratory Submittal Form will cause a laboratory delay. Once the Submittal Form is complete, insert the Form into the larger mailing envelope with the hair sample.
Seal it and mail it!